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Radio Free Albemuth

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  4,727 Ratings  ·  253 Reviews
In Radio Free Albemuth, his last novel, Philip K. Dick morphed and recombined themes that had informed his fiction from A Scanner Darkly to VALIS and produced a wild, impassioned work that reads like a visionary alternate history of the United States. Agonizingly suspenseful, darkly hilarious, and filled with enough conspiracy theories to thrill the most hardened paranoid, ...more
Paperback, 214 pages
Published April 14th 1998 by Vintage (first published 1985)
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DNF with Jack Mack If memory serves, they are all related to Phil's magic moment when he sees the fish pendant. "Valis" is the best synthesis. "Albemuth" is the closest…moreIf memory serves, they are all related to Phil's magic moment when he sees the fish pendant. "Valis" is the best synthesis. "Albemuth" is the closest to Phil's real life experience. "The Divine Invasion," is the easiest to read, and "Exegesis" is too far out for most.

The tone, plot, and POV are different. Yet they all attempt to make sense of the same week in Phil's existence. Valis is louder and trippier than Albemuth. Albemuth has the more adult (and Christian) perspective.

"The Shifting Realities of PKD," explains the forgetful god and the artifact and that makes the whole show run. This is also explained in "Exegesis" as well as the BIP theory or Black Iron Prison Planets. So if you liked "Albemuth" try "Divine Invasion." What a weird answer to type, but I believe this is all accurate.(less)

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Lyn
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are many talented writers who could tell the story of an America that had been surreptitiously taken over internally by a power mad fascist who closely resembled Richard Nixon.

It takes a genius of Philip K. Dick’s stature to tell the same story while also maintaining sub-plots involving alien telepathic transmissions, erudite references to God and the Bible, alternate realities, mental illness, drug use, schizophrenic delusions and enough conspiracy theories to choke a wub.

This, in a nut
...more
Stuart
Radio Free Albemuth: Divine messages via a pink laser from space
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 but only published posthumously in 1985. Even for Philip K Dick, this is a bizarre and partly deranged book. It’s a deeply personal autobiographical attempt for him to make sense of a series of bizarre religious experiences he collectively referred to as “2-3-74”. So if you are only a casual fan of PKD’s books or movies, this is probably not for you. Howe
...more
Darwin8u
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
"This, I realized, is how a man becomes what he is not: by doing what he could never do"
- Philip K Dick, Radio Free Albemuth

description

My brother and I were discussing how PKD would absolutely lose his shit to see how much the world has become what he wrote. I think he would AND wouldn't be surprised by Facebook, the NSA, the surveillance state, cellphones, robots, talking refrigerators, fake news, pharmaceuticals, Trump, perpetual war, fake news, virtual reality, corporatism, etc.

For me this book was a b
...more
Hadrian
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: usa, scifi, fiction
Technically, Radio Free Albemuth was PKD's last published novel. But instead it reads like a different version of the sprawling gnostic treatise of paranoia and salvation that was VALIS.

The two protagonists are Philip K. Dick himself, and not-Philip K. Dick, who is a cipher for the author's own experiences, and the visions of 2-3-74. Again we see the motif of the 'twinless twin'.

The plot is steeped in the conspiracy and fear and despair which characterized the mid-to-late 1970s, and the preside
...more
fromcouchtomoon
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Based on a true delusion. BUT NOT NEARLY AS DELUSIONAL AS HARLAN ELLISON WHEN HE WROTE IN DANGEROUS VISIONS THAT ONE TIME ABOUT HOW PKD WROTE HIS BOOKS WHILE TRIPPING ON DRUGS. BECAUSE THAT'S A TOTAL LIE AND HARLAN ELLISON IS A LYING LIAR PANTS ON FIRE. PKD DIDN'T DO DRUGS. EVER. EXCEPT FOR WHEN HE TALKS ABOUT DOING DRUGS IN THE EXEGESIS. BUT REALLY, PKD DID NOT USE DRUGS. AND IF DRUGS WERE INVOLVED, AND I MEAN THIS IS A BIG IF, IT WAS ONLY BECAUSE OF THAT ORAL SURGERY MEDICATION THAT ONE TIME W ...more
Joey
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't know if I just read a book about aliens or a book about religion. Maybe it was both. The book started off interesting enough but the middle part was a chore reading about all the different theories the two came up with and then there was a long, long Bible lesson. I still don't know what to think about the ending...WTF sums it up about right I guess.
Michael
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: PKD fans, Gnostics, UFOlogists
I believe this was the first book I ever read by Phlip K. Dick. It wasn't published during his lifetime, although he used themes from it in his book VALIS and its sequels. Basically, it is set in a world slightly ahead of the time it was written, in which totalitarianism has begun to take hold in America through President Ferris Fremont and his “FAP” (“Friends of the American People”) movement. In the midst of this, an obscure record clerk in Berkeley starts getting messages from space, which ro ...more
Ajeje Brazov
"Mi giunse un'altra immagine, chiara e netta. La mia amicizia con Phil, il fatto che lui abbia scritto decine di popolari romanzi di fantascienza che si vendono nei negozi e nelle stazioni degli autobus, anche quella è una falsa pista. E' proprio quello che le autorità cercano: qualcosa che emerga da quei romanzi da quattro soldi. Vengono studiati e vagliati uno a uno dagli uomini dei servizi segreti. Anche noi del campo discografico siamo controllati, ma più che altro si cercano allusioni nasco ...more
S.D. Johnson
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Those who already know Dick will find familiar themes in this novel... We have a U.S.A. set in an alternate history with a fascist dictator fighting an elusive organization called Aramchek. Although published posthumously the novel was actually started before the other Valis works and was the first to introduce the concept of Valis (vast active living intelligent system), a kind of divine and benevolent entity overseeing the universe who many people would simply refer to as God. The usual Dick o ...more
Denis
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardcover, b-c
This was the second best (after Transmigration) of the Valis (four part) trilogy.

I read PKD's Exegesis after having read all of these novels and thus had to re-read them for context. This one was PKD's the first shot at novelizing his Feb.'74 experience. Sometimes one's first ideas are maybe not the most developed or executed but are still essentially the best.

He used his own name in this one, rather than "Horselover Fat" which he used in Valis. Horselover Fat: narrator; Philip in Greek means "f
...more
James
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
A dystopian tale set in a USA under a totalitarian President who is merely a puppet for Russia.

Ideal escapist fiction in today's world!
Mike
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although not officially categorized as part of the Valis "trilogy," Radio Free Albemuth is clearly a companion to Valis.
Published after his death, this was Philip K. Dick's first attempt at novelizing his strange experiences of February and March 1974.

Radio Free Albemuth hits many of the same notes as Valis, but is a more straightforward and polished narrative. Where Valis is trippy and disjointed, Albemuth is a politcal dystopian novel, similar to A Scanner Darkly. I would go so far as to call
...more
Gray
‘As his eyes adjusted to the gloom he saw the floating patches of colour, but they were receding from him faster and faster as his thoughts - manic, the psychiatrist had said - matched their velocity. They’re escaping, he thought, and so is my head; my mind is going along with them.’


Radio Free Albemuth was written in 1976 and published posthumously in 1985. It has been suggested that this was only a first draft which Dick abandoned before going on to write VALIS (published in 1981). He wrote it
...more
Haluk
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hikaye baştan sonra kasvetli, paranoyak ve psikozlu. Dini, polis devletleri, faşist yönetimleri ve bilim kurguyu mükemmel bir şekilde harmanlamış PKD. Hikayenin kapanışındaki sahnede de tüm bu kasveti dağıtmış. PKD özel bir adam, okuduğum her romanı ile bunu kafama tekrar tekrar vuruyor.
Anna Syromenos
May 19, 2016 rated it liked it
As a paranoid schizophrenic I may be biased but Philip K Dick was the man.
T4ncr3d1
“Come non pensare al normale corso dell’esistenza umana, dell’uomo lasciato a se stesso? Destinato a percorrere la sua traiettoria circolare, come una massa di materia inerte orbitante attorno a un sole morto, inutile e indifferente, sorda all’universo, cieca e fredda. Refrattaria a qualsiasi nuova idea. Tagliata fuori per sempre dall’originalità. C’era da fermarsi e riflettere".

Nel febbraio e marzo 1974 Dick andò incontro a una serie di esperienze mistico-religiose, forse in parte indotte da un
...more
Nikki
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think I've only read one Philip K. Dick book before, and that was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I didn't really get on with that. I wonder now if that was due to different interests at the time, not settling down with it enough... because I did enjoy Radio Free Albemuth, and it's making me want to try going back to Do Androids Dream and to some of Dick's other work, and have another try.

It's a smooth read, confidently written, and easy to follow -- which as I recall, was my problem
...more
Petergiaquinta
Jun 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
The cover of my '80s-era paperback edition of Dick's novel screeches, "Newly discovered! His final and most prophetic novel," the kind of come-on you'll find on most covers of most of the novels by this author who is more often than not treated by his fans and the publishing industry as some kind of mystical seer or high priest of sci-fi, instead of the paranoid nut-job with minimal writing skills that he truly was.

And that's not to say I'm not a fan because I am, although a little Dick goes a l
...more
Chris
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it
This might be an impossible statement, but I think this was the weirdest K Dick I've read. Not that it was weirder, per se, but it was weird in a way I wasn't expecting from Dick -- its paranoid alternative reality dystopia (expected) meets New-Age Christianity (not expected).

I liked that most of the book was narrated by "Philip K. Dick," a science-fiction author well-known for such books as Flow My Tears, Said the Policeman, and The Man in the High Tower. The middle section, narrated by "Phil's
...more
Jack Pramitte
Radio libre Albemuth est vraiment un livre très spécial. Une sorte d'autobiographie truquée (ou pas), schizophrénique et paranoïaque. Philip K. Dick s'y dédouble comme dans une manifestation de dissociation de la personnalité et décrit le monde de cauchemar dans lequel il croit évoluer, mêlant faits réels et inventés. On ne sait jamais trop dans quelle mesure il est sérieux dans ses interprétations ou s'il saisit simplement des occasions d'être drôle, laissant le lecteur entre consternation et c ...more
Ümit
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tüm dinler tarihini, bilhassa İsa'yı bilimkurguya indirgemek, dünyadışı zeki yaşamformlarıyla birleştirmek; bunu yaparken de baskıcı totaliter faşist hükümetleri işin içine harikuladeten katıp harmanlayarak, belki de yazılabilecek en iyi politik-bilimkurguya imza atmak.

PKD işte. Gerisi lafıgüzaf.
Michael
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Nixon-era paranoid schizophrenia as only PKD can do it. Parts of it made me laugh out loud, which is unusual for his books. You might find it interesting to contrast this with VALIS; however, I've forgotten 99% of VALIS, so I can't say any more than that.
Scott Holstad
Sep 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cecil
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
This short novel is filled with a vast number of seemingly unrelated themes that (eventually) get tied together in a beautiful way. Christian Anarchism, anti-imperialism, The Cold War, Judaism, state-communism, panetheism, riffs about Robert Heinlein's politics, even references to the Ubik universe.

Definitely a must read for any sci-fi junkie. I wil say, however, the pacing was a little rough and the characterization was a little flat. I agree with critics that yes, this is not Dick's best work
...more
Mack Hayden
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
This has got everything you want out of a Philip K. Dick book: people flitting around at the edge of sanity / reality the whole time, philosophical / theological musing, incisive social commentary, and that perfectly paranoid vibe he nails almost every time. I still haven't read VALIS so I feel like I may have missed the full experience of this one. The emphasis on religion in this book really engaged me, ranging from the outright kooky to the surprisingly sane. It may not be his absolute best, ...more
John
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
not PKD's finest work, but a good read, especially considering the parallels to current politics. US presided over by a bumbling totalitarian president secretly installed by Russia, hmm.
Chris
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
In an alternate 1960s, conservative senator Ferris F. Fremont becomes president after the Johnson administration; Fremont makes sweeping changes to the United States, abrogating civil liberties and human rights in pursuit of a shadowy Communist group called “Aramchek” which has infiltrated American society. During Fremont’s rise to power, a young man named Nick Brady begins to receive Gnostic visions which he believes are from a helpful alien entity he knows as VALIS, or the Vast Active Living I ...more
Lauren
Apr 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old
Philip K. Dick is one of the great science-fictional minds of the 20th century. I don't think I need to defend this statement. This book, however, is not one of his most popular. Dick himself is said to have disliked the book, at least enough that he later gave it a more-polished rewrite and published it again as VALIS (for all intents and purposes, a completely distinct work). I, however, loved it.

The book does get a bit "meta," though not quite as much as VALIS, what with the author entering i
...more
Phil
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is only the second book of PKD's that I've read (and the first was quite a long time ago - the oft-suggested (perhaps because it's a critically-acceptable dystopian future novel rather than a sci-fi book) "Man in the High Castle").

It's perhaps an odd choice, after all it was published posthumously after too many rewrites were demanded by his publishers; it involves a hell of a lot of autobiographical history, including a science fiction writer called Phil Dick; it's a fictional retelling of
...more
Sotiris Makrygiannis
Feb 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
a usa president planted by the Russians. the guy predicted trump 30 years earlier? wow!
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Philip K. Dick was born in Chicago in 1928 and lived most of his life in California. In 1952, he began writing professionally and proceeded to write numerous novels and short-story collections. He won the Hugo Award for the best novel in 1962 for The Man in the High Castle and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best novel of the year in 1974 for Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. Philip K. Di ...more
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